Support for same-sex marriage is up sharply in a dramatic public opinion shift from as recently as three years ago, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Monday morning.The national poll showed 49 percent of Americans favoring marriage equality with 40 percent opposed. Support among younger voters approaches 60 percent. Only two groups among those surveyed — voters over 65 and Tea Party supporters — werein opposition.The figures are an almost precise flip on the issue from an NBC/Journal poll in October of 2009. At that time, 41 percent favored same-sex marriage while 49 percent were opposed.In 2004, Republicans used more than 20 statewide ballot measures, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, to get evangelical voters to turn out at the polls for President Bush’s reelection.Same-sex marriage was opposed by a 30-62 percent margin in an NBC/Journal survey taken at the time.“Progress is happening: The Republican Party, in what its presidential candidates are saying, is out of step with the mainstream,” said State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, sponsor of Washington’s marriage equality legislation.via seattlepi.com.
There is extensive evidence that the US is moving to embrace full equality for lesbian and gay couples, and that Catholics are more supportive than the population at large. American Evangelicals though, remain (mostly) hostile. There has not been nearly as much polling for the UK, but a new survey shows even more support than in the US – including from 61% of all Christians.
Results of a poll released today say 61% of people in the UK who identify as Christian back fully equal rights for gay couples.
The 2011 Ipsos MORI study explored the “beliefs, knowledge and attitudes” of people who identified as Christian after the nationwide census last year.
74% of respondents said as Christians they thought religion should not have a special influence on public life.
The survey was conducted on behalf of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
Six in ten respondents, 61%, agreed that gays should have the same rights in all aspects of their lives as straight people.
Only 29% said they disapproved of sexual relationships between gays. Nearly half said they did not actively disapprove.
A word of caution here, is that the survey was sponsored by the explicitly secularist Richard Dawkins Foundation, which is using the results to demonstrate that the UK is a secular society, and not a “Christian country”. It does not appear to have released the full questionnaire or tables. The only results currently available are those selected for inclusion in the press release by the Foundation. In particular, the description “Christian” appears to be used for those who describe themselves as such – many of whom do not actively practice their religion.
There is no reason to disregard the main thrust of the finding though, which is in agreement with what previous research is available. British opinion is firmly on the side of LGBT inclusion – and that includes those who think of themselves Christian.